Design Thinking: Dead or Alive?

Tonight Fahrenheit 212 and IDSANY are hosting a very exciting panel discussion, moderated by Allan Chochinov, on the best evolution and best practices of design thinking.

In the days following the event, the discussion will be edited into web episodes and posted for all those not able to attend.

ISDA

Moderator Allan Chochinov is a partner of Core77, a New York-based design network serving a global community of designers and design enthusiasts, where he serves as the editor-in-chief of Core77.com, the widely read design website. Allan lectures around the world and at professional conferences including IDSA, AIGA and IxDA, has been a guest critic at various design schools in including Yale University, NYU, IIT, Carnegie Mellon, RISD, University of Minnesota, RIT, Emily Carr, Ravensbourne, and RMIT. He has moderated and led workshops and symposia at the Aspen Design Conference, the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Compost Modern, and Winterhouse, and is a frequent design competition juror. Prior to Core77, his work in product design focused on the medical, surgical, and diagnostic fields, as well as on consumer products and workplace systems. He has been named on numerous design and utility patents and has received awards from I.D. Magazine, Communication Arts, The Art Directors Club and The One Club. In 2012, he will launch a new graduate design MFA program in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, focusing on the purposeful, systemic role of artifacts and design offerings in multidisciplinary contexts.

Panelists:

BILL MOGGRIDGE
Bill Moggridge is the director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Bill designed the first laptop computer, the Grid Compass, launched in 1982. He describes his career as having three phases, first as a designer with projects for clients in ten countries, second as a co-founder of IDEO where he developed design methods for interdisciplinary design teams, and third as a spokesperson for the value of design in everyday life, writing, presenting and teaching, supported by the historical depth and contemporary reach of the museum.

A Royal Designer for Industry, Bill pioneered interaction design and is one of the first people to integrate human factors into the design of software and hardware. He has been a trustee of the Design Museum in London, Visiting Professor in Interaction Design at the Royal College of Art and Consulting Associate Professor in the design program at Stanford University. He served as Congress Chair for CONNECTING’07, the Icsid/IDSA World Design Congress held in San Francisco in October 2007. He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Awards in 2009, and the Prince Philip Designers Prize in 2010.

His first book Designing Interactions, tells the story of how interaction design is transforming our daily lives. His next book, Designing Media, examines the connections between traditional mainstream media and the emerging digital realm: The MIT Press publishes both.

CLIFF KUANG
Cliff Kuang is a senior editor at Fast Company, and the editor-in-chief of its design blog, Co.Design. Since launching last year, Co.Design has become the largest design site on the web, attracting 1.2 million unique readers per month. Recently, it also won a National Magazine Award, the industry’s highest honor, for best online department. Prior to Fast Company, he has been an editor at I.D. magazine and The Economist, and written regularly for Wired, Popular Science, and Good. Before embarking on a career in journalism, he was a consultant at Bain & Company, specializing in leverage buyouts. He holds a B.A. from Columbia University, where he studied philosophy and studio art.

HELEN WALTERS
Helen Walters is a design writer and editor, currently working as an editor and researcher at Doblin, a member of Monitor Group. Until July 2010, she was editor of innovation and design at Bloomberg BusinessWeek. She’s the author of five design-related books and also contributing editor to British design magazine, Creative Review. She regularly writes for publications including Core77, Design Observer and Fast Company, while she oversees the design and innovation blog thoughtyoushouldseethis.com. She also tweets @helenwalters.

STEPHAN CLAMBANEVA
Stephan Clambaneva is the New York City Chapter Chair of the Industrial Designers Society of America. His experience spans the entire product lifecycle from ideation and industrial design through engineering, manufacturing execution to operations and sustainability.

He has worked for IBM as a business process design consultant for the Global Business Services PLM team. His other responsibilities included Environmental Product Lifecycle Management Champion and Global Industry Leader for the IBM PLM organization. As of 2010 with the acquisition of IBM PLM by Dassault Systèmes, the leading PLM Vendor worldwide, he is the Global PLM Industry Consultant for them.

Stephan has published and presented papers on the subject of PLM, ID, Green Design, Environmental Management Systems and sustainability. He received his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and his Masters in Manufacturing Management from Pennsylvania State University. He is fluent in English, French and Greek. Mr. Clambaneva has significant international experience and lives and works in New York.

MARK PAYNE
As Fahrenheit 212’s co-founder, President and Head of Idea Development, Mark Payne draws on his twenty plus years’ experience in the creation of new businesses, products and brands, with a global perspective born of having lived and worked across Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America, and a skill set fusing creative abandon and strategic discipline.

Mark’s pursuit of a better way to invent has shaped Fahrenheit 212’s unique Money & Magic innovation practice and process, and uncovered potent new insights into how ideas interact with the human mind, both on the street and in the boardroom.

Among the companies he’s worked with in pursuit of disruptive innovation are Procter & Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company, Samsung, Nestle, Toyota, Citibank, LG, Starbucks, American Express, IMAX, Diageo, Charles Schwab, Best Buy, Starwood Hotels, Lowe’s, Gucci Group, Gillette, Hershey’s, and General Mills.

Mark holds a B.A. Cum Laude in Economics and Psychology from Middlebury College and the London School of Economics. He has written and spoken extensively on innovation’s past, present and future, including recent speaking engagements at IFT Wellness 10, the 2010 Inventages Investor Conference and educational podiums including the HEC in Paris, Pratt School of Design, New York University, the UK’s Cranfield School of Management, and John’s Hopkins University. He is a regular contributing columnist on BusinessInsider.com and Portfolio.com, and lives in Woodstock, New York with his wife Elizabeth and son Jacob.

DEBERA JOHNSON
Debera Johnson is the founder and executive director of the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation which currently supports 15 start-up businesses in four sectors – sustainable design consulting,product design, fashion and clean energy. She is also Pratt’s Academic Director of Sustainability and has been working across the institute to implement Pratt’s strategic commitment to link the greening of its campus with greening of its academic programs. Deb is leading the vision for Pratt’s Center for Sustainable Design Studies and Research (CSDS) – an open source regional resource center for educators and designers. http://csds.pratt.edu. Deb was the chair of the Industrial Design Program at Pratt from 1998 to 2005 and served as the chair of the NYC chapter of the IDSA, the education director for IDSA Northeast region and strategic director for education for the “Designers Accord”. Recently she founded PALS (Partnership for Academic Leadership in Sustainability), an international group of art and design educators envisioning the future of art and design education.

Some sample discussion points:

  • How would you describe Design Thinking’s contributions to modern innovation practice?
  • When Obama was elected into a very messy world, there was an immense level of expectation that his arrival would suddenly sweep away all the world’s problems. Of course it was unreasonable to think that any one individual could quickly undo so many structural and institutional problems many years in the making. Has Design Thinking suffered from unreasonably high expectations that it would be the magical remedy to the famously high failure rates innovation is known for?
  • Design thinking has undoubtedly helped make innovation more humanistic and more creative, but has it upped the odds of success?
  • Design Thinking has, among other things of course, emphasized the need to prototype, prototype and prototype some more. By doing that, we find the flaws to be overcome in the next iteration. Design Thinking itself has by now been prototyped. What have we learned about what’s working…and equally, about what’s flawed and needs to change?
  • What types of problems has it proven most successful at solving, and what types of problems have been perhaps beyond its reach?
  • Has Design Thinking resolved the tensions between creativity and commerce, brokered the beginnings of a truce, or made them worse?
  • The general consensus surrounding design thinking is that one should suspend concerns of how one will make money and focus single mindedly on the human needs of the consumer…ensuring concerns of making money don’t corrupt the process. Is it true that making money should not be a foreground consideration in innovation methodology?
  • Design thinking in many ways asked companies to make big changes, but didn’t ask creative people to change their own orientation at all. Innovation is more prone to failure than most other forms of human endeavor. Is design thinking enough on its own to change that?
  • The markets in which companies compete have grown absurdly saturated. What implications does that have for Design Thinking and the future of innovation practice?

6 thoughts on “Design Thinking: Dead or Alive?

  1. Les

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  4. Skeptic

    I think you left out a question from the list, there:

    “Design thinking was suppose to be this totally new awesome thing that solved the worlds problems but it really is just totally not and so “last year,” isn’t it? Discuss.”

    Was there some type of official Design Thinking handbook on exactly what design thinking is and what it was suppose to accomplish that provoked this huge sense of disappointment in such a broad concept.

    I hope the panel (which btw, seems like a great a panel of professionals/experts) do a better job of answering these questions than whomever wrote them did asking them.

  5. Alex

    After reading the last two points, and a little bit on Mark Payne, I have somthing to say. Design Is a monster, a monster both good and bad. Our personalites as designers shape and mold this monster. Monsters have come along way since the middle ages and so has design. I guess what I’m trying to say is Dont forget Frankenstein, or Dracula, or the blob. Look at where these monsters are today. Things get old quick, but last forever.

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